Why I became a nurse: Anna’s story

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It’s a strange feeling when people ask me why I became a nurse. When this question was posed in college, many classmates raised their hands and said there were nurses in their family, and so it felt like a good path for them. To this day, I can’t pinpoint the moment, the experience, the real reason for going into nursing. And each time I explore it, I discover new insights.

To a very large extent, I agree when people say it’s a calling. However, I do believe our experiences mold us.

I held my father’s hand when he passed away a few weeks before my 14th birthday. I was too young to have participated in his care, to fight for information when provided updates by the MDs at the hospitals. But at the same time, I was just old enough to realize that once he was gone, there were all those landmarks in time he would not be present for.

As much as I have denied this to myself in the past, I feel like nursing is my chance to fight for my father. To care for every patient as I would have cared for him if given the chance…if given the time.

For me, it was a profession to go into to really LIVE life. As a nurse I knew I would see the moments in between the moments. A privilege to see the shared glances at a loved one when the other was looking away. Of loved ones gaining perspective of another day while in the sterile walls of a hospital room, and swearing to themselves to appreciate the same moments once they returned home. To watch people get the chances I missed, and to make those moments of sadness and realization easier for those in pain.

This story is a new one I have discovered while writing just now. And I’m sure there will be more to come.

As I’m still not certain what led me to arrive here, I believe all roads would have eventually led me to the same place.

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The Nursing Inspiration Project

Joanelle Mulrain is an artist, photographer and writer whose recent works include a special suite of paintings to honor Florence Nightingale for the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (Jacksonville, Fla.). For this special series, Mulrain researched what inspired Florence Nightingale to become a nurse and translated her inspirational points of light into her paintings (for more on the exhibit, go to florencenightingaleexhibit.com). This journey broadened into a blog—The Nursing Inspiration Project—which asks nurses to share their stories in 1,000 words or less about why they chose nursing as their life’s work. Be a part of this important project and submit your story at thenursinginspirationproject.com.

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One Response to Why I became a nurse: Anna’s story

  1. Sylvia

    People ask me, “Are’nt you depressed watching people die?” I answer them,” It’s not about the dying,but the living.” Someone once said, “From the dying we learn how to live.” I guess I have alot of living and learning to do. I have learned alot from my patient and families. I have been in nursing over 40 years. It’s been like a journey for me.